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General News of Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Source: The Chronicle

Minister goes missing

Development watchers in the Upper East Region are yet to come to terms with the kind of leadership style President John Dramani Mahama is running as they continue to question his frequent reshuffling of regional ministers, which has left the region without a regional minister for close to three months.

As a result, Alhaji Mohammed-Limuna Muneru, Northern Regional Minister, whose region is the largest in the country, is also acting as the regional minister for the Upper East region.

This, concerned citizens and development watchers in the region have described as inimical to the socio-economic development of the region.

President Mahama, after assuming office in January 2013, first nominated Dr. Ephraim Avea Nsoh as the Regional Minister, but shortly afterward, Dr, Avea was re-assigned to the Upper West Region following the President’s dramatic reshuffle of all regional ministers. Alhaji Muneru, who was then at the Presidency, took charge of Upper East Region.

In the second reshuffle exercise, Dr. Avea was re-assigned to the Upper East Region but was subsequently dismissed after a few weeks.

Mr. James Tiigah Tia, the then representative of Ghana at the United Nations Embassy in the USA was nominated. After he was vetted and approved, he took over in July, but did not stay in office.

He returned to his base in the USA without introducing himself to the chiefs and people of the region, as has always been the practice. He has since not returned to superintend over the region.

There have been many questions about the whereabouts of the minister, and the latest to add their voice are members of Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a pro-poor Civil Society Organization working to influence pro-poor policies and promote accountable governance in the Upper East Region.

In a sturdily worded statement issued and endorsed by Mr. Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, Director and Coordinator of Governance Programme at NORPRA, stated that “The minister’s unpatriotic behaviour is not only facilitating the thinking of citizens of Upper East Region that he has very little commitment in leading his people out of poverty and under-development but also strongly confirms the widely held views of Ghanaians that the Mahama-led administration has gotten its development priorities wrong, as it has always taken very poisonous decisions resulting in poor management of the economy and governance of the country”.

He said the decision of the president to make four ministerial reshuffles in less than twenty months in the region was not only inimical to the socio-economic development of the region but a clear manifestation of gross abuse of presidential powers.

In their quest to compel the President to order the Minister to resume office with immediate effect, Mr. Adongo and his organization had declared November 14, 2014, a ‘Search Walk’ in the region.

This, NORPRA intended to achieve by mobilizing citizens to embark on a gargantuan ‘Search Walk’ aimed at demanding serious answers from government about the whereabouts of the minister.

“Additionally, the walk will be used to advise government to stop frustrating the development agenda of the upper east region by ensuring that right choices are made to get leaders with strong commitment and determination to lead the region’s much needed development”, the statement indicated.

Though NORPRA had recognised the importance of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which enjoins government to have deputy regional ministers, its members believe the current case in the Upper East Region where the deputy regional minister did not have the mandate to act as a regional minister and lead the region’s development in the absence of the substantive minister, provides a good platform for national debate on the relevance of deputy regional ministerial positions in Ghana’s governance system.

Mr. Adongo was, therefore, urging the good people of the Upper East Region to join this ‘Search Walk’ in their numbers to make a good case for their mother Region, which had already lost out on numerous development opportunities due to the absence of the Regional minister.